Patient files for medical coding

What Makes a Good Coder?

Do You Have What It Takes?

Do you think you know what it takes to become a good, professional medical coder? What are the intrinsic qualities necessary to excel in your job as a professional?

Knowing what a profession entails is one of the first steps in discovering the inside scoop on whether or not you have the “right stuff” for this career.





The Top Three

There are many qualities that a professional coder should have ownership of, however, there are at least three which you need to have in order to be successful in this field:

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is an age old phrase, bordering on being a cliché.  Yet, how true it is that most employers love to use this phrase in their classified ads.  Does that not tell you something?

Medical billing and coding employers know full well that even small errors can result in large sums not being reimbursed.  This is one of the reasons many employers desire or, more strongly, require some sort of previous experience as a coder.  Their job may be on the line if a person they recommended for hiring turns out to be less than meticulous in their performance.

Probably the best way to describe “attention to detail” is to think of when you are first trying to accomplish something.  You are very cautious and concentrating on every item, making sure to get it right.

With medical coding, it is essential to pay attention and concentrate on every detail to get the most reimbursement possible.

Absorbing and Comprehending New Information

So you think taking a nine month or one year training program will prepare you for a career in medical coding?  Um, no.

You will get the basic and I mean very basic understanding of what you will need to know for your job.  Everything else you will learn on the job.  So from Day One, you will be hit with diagnoses and terminology that you never studied.  You will have to decipher the doctor’s penmanship and try to figure out if he/she meant this disease or another disease.

In short, every day will be a new learning experience.  Absorbing and comprehending this new information will be critical for your future in this career.  For instance, if you are able to remember that 821.00 equals a fracture of the femur, then it becomes second nature to code it.  Constantly checking and re-checking your code book or software will slow you down.  Coding software will help you, but you shouldn’t rely it.

A Thorough Knowledge

In the world of medical coding, you must have a good grasp of medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, abbreviations and physiology to get the job done right.

Your school will provide you with direction and books, but you have to be willing and able to study hard and often.  Laying a solid foundation of knowledge will pay you dividends, especially when you take the examinations for your certification.

The best and most efficient coders have a thorough knowledge and are always striving to learn more.


Related Reading

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